Election Fallout

Filed under:General — eric @ 7:34 am

When people ask me about my political leanings, I have two answers. Each is true, yet (to most people) each conflicts with the other. One one hand, I am a progressive. On the other, I am a libertarian. The two really do blend well, and it’s a more common belief than you might think. I believe the government should “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” and nothing else. I believe society should work toward making life better for everyone, including future generations. I also believe that the individual should be free to do as he chooses, so long as another is not harmed.

I think I’ve stated that so simply that most everyone would say “I think that way too!” The devil’s in the details — how do you define “harm”, “general welfare”, “better”, and “individual”? to a large degree, those definitions are what separates the parties. Between the two major ones, I tend to agree more with the Democrats more than the Republicans. This is in large part because, despite professing to the contrary, the Republicans tend to have no respect for the rights of the individual. But there is plenty to take the Democratic party to task over as well, so at election time I vote based more on the candidate’s beliefs than the party represented. More often than not, minor parties get my votes.

Yesterday in Georgia, the Democrats fell from power. It was an odd campaign season, kicked off by the Democrats legally redistricting the state in closed door legislative sessions (without the Republicans present), emerging with textbook gerrymandered maps. Local interests were sacrificed for the single goal of extending the Dems control over the state, and they had no apologies. The governor spent an obscene amount of money on TV, radio, and print ads that credited him with everything good that had happened in Georgia, even those things that he had opposed before they happened. They were insulting to anyone with a memory. On the other hand, you had a Republican challenger whose initial campaign was fueled by anger over the change in the state flag. Though he distanced himself from racism, his vocal supporters weren’t so tactful. [He blew all that tact away, however, when during his victory speech, as the first Republican governor-elect in over 130 years, he exclaimed “Free at last! Free at last! Thank god almighty, Free at last!”]. The greens had a candidate I should have voted for (but didn’t).

As went the governorship, so went the state senate. The Athens-area senator was a great progressive in his first term. He stood for environmentally friendly smart growth and other progressive causes. His opponent was a real estate developer. The developer ran a brilliant negative campaign, focused his efforts on the extremely Republican suburban areas, and was helped a lot when the senator claimed he had an endorsement that was easily shown to be false. The Republican victory here, coupled with the (still not officially announced) switch of three senator’s party affiliations, have helped the Republicans take control of the state senate for the first time.

In Athens proper, there was a complete progressive sweep. The mayor and all the council positions up for grabs landed on the progressive side. Good things may happen in town.

Oh… Athens was in one of the newly created congressional districts, carefully engineered to be in Democratic hands. They then proceeded to get a truly horrible party hack through the primaries and managed to lose the seat altogether. I’d rather be represented by the left in Washington, but I was glad to see the Dems get what they had coming. Actually, since the district was so tightly drawn, I wasn’t a part of it. The district I live in is concentrated Republicans.

The US Senate race here was odd, too. The Republican won, but only after he questioned the courage of his opponent, a standing senator who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam. His win helps put the Republicans in charge of the US Senate. Given how the Democratic senate caved on most everything, I don’t suspect much will change. Except for the appointment for life of judges who don’t seem to respect the rights of the individual, that is.

So, that’s my recap of the election. How’d things go in your neck of the woods?


  1. Colorado’s results are downright depressing from my perspective, which (I suppose) is to be suspected in this very Republican state. Heavy conservatives won most everything, including those whose platforms were SS privatization and school vouchers. Almost all amendments and other issues failed, including ones to help alleviate our overcrowded schools and prisons. I guess most people forgot how outraged they were six months ago when several convicted child molesters were released WAY before their time was served, simply because there was no room for them in the jail. Too bad the kids are learning in lean-to trailers, especially in this primarily affluent area. Ay carumba! Save us from evil taxes at any cost!

    Oh, and yes, my state contributed a Republican senator to the Washington scene. I guess Bush takes credit for most of it. I suppose I should be glad to see he’s good at something. Boy, the future of our judicial branch scares the bejesus out of me…

    Comment by JEN — 11/7/2002 @ 3:02 am

  2. NPR was right! Georgia’s 12th district does look like the Statue of Liberty!

    In Iowa, redistricting was not conducted by the state ligislature like in most places but by and outside firm. As a result, four of our five House seats were indeed competitive!

    You touched on something that was a problem with the Dems, why did they have to run such horroble, horrible candidates to challenge incumbent republicans. In my discrict, Iowa-2, we were represented for the last two years by somebody that most of the new district didn’t vote for. Redistricting put two Republicans representatives, Bob(?) Nussle and Jim Leach, into district 1, so Mr. Leach moved into district 2 and ran for the seat. Because of recent history, I decided that civil rights protection would by my guiding star for this election, and as Republicans go, Leach is a great civil libertarian with the ACLU giving him a 47% rating (compared to 4% of our GOP senator, Grassley and 92% with our Dem senator, Harkin). Most importantly, Leach was one of the very few GOP legislators TO VOTE AGAINST BUSH’S IRAQ PLAN!!! This mystified me and still does.

    The Dems put against him a Cedar Rapids pediatrician named Julie Thomas. She is a complete looser! How do I know this? I sent an email to her campaign telling her about Leach’s record and asked her what her stand on civil liberties was and asked why I should vote for her rather than Leach. And what was her response? Nothing! All she did was to put me on here mailing list (”I need three card tables for our lit drop on the 14th…”) Even when somebody called me from her headquarters and I asked a person the same thing I put in the email and she said that she didn’t know and that she’d get back to me. Nothing.

    So my problem was: Leach is a great guy, I’d love to vote for him, but with the Iowa races so close, I’d hate to think that I’d vote to retain Hastert as Speaker. So I voted for that loser, Thomas, and she lost, even in “Berkeley East,” Iowa City… At least Leach is a good guy…

    In Iowa it seemed that all the incumbants won, from top to bottom. Which is good, I guess. The Dems keep the state house, which means I get to keep my job with the Iowa Dept of Natural Resources.

    GOP takes control of all the branches of national government so that means things will get done. Unfortunatly, I usually like things best when nothing gets done on the national level. Grrr…

    Comment by Matt — 11/7/2002 @ 9:34 am

  3. I’m too wrapped up in my own life to have paid much attention to the election…but as far as I can tell, Wisconsin came out pretty well (if you like Democrats). Tammy Baldwin, our first female (and lesbian) congressperson was reelected by a landslide to a third term (defeating someone who is, in my opinion, really scary conservative). We got a democratic governor…who wasn’t my choice in the primary…but will hopefully do much better than the guy that got promoted to the position after Tommy Thompson left for Washington…and promptly tried to eliminate state aids to local government. Still…Wisconsin politics is all goofed up these days with all kinds of scandal…I’m not sure who’s getting the work done in all the mess.

    Comment by M — 11/7/2002 @ 11:00 am

  4. I was very active this time around. I was adamantly against Mr. Talent, the lap dog to Bush and Ashcroft. I wrote Mrs. Carnahan begging her for a reason as to why she deserved my vote. She certainly didn’t represent me in the time that she replaced her husband in the Senate seat. No reply. I signed a petition with Mr. Michael Moore stating that I would not vote for her if she voted yes for the War Proposal on Iraq. So, I really, really, really begged and pleaded with her and her lackies on why I should end up voting for her anyway. Still, with no reply, I voted for her– scared of the inevitable. Scared of the now. May we all be ok.

    Comment by Sister — 11/8/2002 @ 2:30 am

  5. well here in the great state of North Carolina we had to make a choice since the encumbant (Jessie Helms) was steping down we had to pick some one new the choices were Elizbeth Dole or another uncharasmatic Democrat by the name of Bowles. Both sides had an almost identical platform of saving the low paying textile jobs in NC, improving the education system(currently one of the worse in the land) and helping farmers. The campaign went muddy pretty quickly and by the end we all wanted it over. In the end Dole won much to my wife’s dismay in a 55/45 split. And Jen is not the only one scared out of their wits about the Judicial branch.

    Comment by Anonymous — 11/11/2002 @ 10:37 am

  6. I think there was no point to this artiicle about voting for a woman when you really did not want to vote for her in the first place.

    Comment by Brianne — 11/12/2003 @ 3:28 am

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